Don't be dissuaded from viewing this powerpoint deck (by Elizabeth Yin of Launchbit) by thinking "I don't have an online business." Several of the tools featured are useful for the websites of "brick and mortar" businesses as well.
Also, if you're thinking about a micro-site to support a specific service or product, several of the resources listed might be helpful. (For examples of micro-sites built by Mercer Capital, see www.buysellagreementsonline.com and www.bvreviewershandbook.com.)
Or, you might be thinking, "To heck with this career. I'm going to start an on-line business." Well then, this powerpoint deck really applies to you.
In any case, take a look.
In this post (4 Reasons That Rent A CMO Makes Sense - Enterprise Value), Josh Patrick poses a sensible solution for a problem many small businesses, especially small professional service firms, have -- The firm is not big enough to support a full-time CMO but it needs those skill sets.
Josh's solution -- rent a CMO, or hire a CMO on a contract basis.
This can work for many firms IF you are clear on the following when vetting a contracted CMO:
What have I missed in this list?
Source: Stage 2 Planning Partners Making Your Life Better Blog
At Jay Baer's Convince & Convert, I found Emailium in his post "Eureka! A Free Search Engine That Will Juice Your Email Marketing."
What is it?
Emailium is a free (for now) search engine of top emails from the leading retailers and other major senders of digital communication.
Considering that just about every company of every size sends email to its customers, this post probably applies to you.
- Do you need design inspiration? Ideas for how to make your emails look snappier, with more compelling layouts?
- Do you want to keep tabs on your competitors? What emails they are sending, and when?
- Do you want to monitor the email behavior of an industry? To determine what trends exist in marketing, offers, timing, and sequencing of emails?
If any of those appeal to you, I recommend you check out Emailium.
For a basic description, read the rest of Jay's post.
What Does Emailium Do for Professional Service Firms?
I poked around Emailium for a bit. For the majority of professional service firms, the most immediate benefit is inspiration for email design and layout.
Many of us won't find our direct competitors here and the industry search categories listed are a bit to broad for us. However, a bit of study of campaign timing and layout can be useful for us.
Check it out and see if it might be helpful for you.
Great article by Michael W. McLaughlin on thought leadership (Is Your Thought Leadership Strategy a Waste of Time? via RainToday).
His point is basic but glossed over by many hyping this marketing tactic - that is content marketing (i.e., being recognized as a thought leader) is hard.
Michael notes that pumping content out to the market that does not address your customer's needs, is old thinking, has no call to action, and has no support for the assertions made is not only bad marketing, it's a waste of time.
Content marketing is all the rage now. Mercer Capital (the firm I work for) has been using this marketing tactic before it had a name, as have many professional services firms. We always called it educating our clients, referral sources, and our profession.
Twenty years ago, even ten years ago (that's how long we've been marketing with content), content marketing was much more effective than it is now. There are two primary reasons:1) the marketplace wasn't so crowded and 2) the internet was not being used as the powerful content delivery tool it is today.
This means you should read Michael's article and if you are using, or considering using, content marketing as a piece of your marketing plan, focus on producing quality content. It's hard. It's very hard. It's harder than it's likely ever been. But it's worth it if done correctly.
Other content marketing sites you might be interest in are:
Numerous other websites discuss content marketing. For a list, download my whitepaper 25 Marketing Best Practices for Professional Service Firms. In it I list the 80 or so blogs I follow. Many of them might be of interest to you.
Also check out the book, Content Rules, by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.
This post from Sean D'Souza, How to Create The Accidental Evangelist, is a good one to read and internalize. Posted on his blog, Psychotactics.com, Sean does a good job reminding us that it takes listening to our clients (referral sources) and acting upon what we learn to create "accidental evangelists."
After Sean gives examples from Amex and a hotel, he writes:
Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t run a hotel. And you don’t own a credit card company. And the options for you to create evangelists, accidental or not, are few and far in between.
Ok, so tell me another one…
Because you’ve not been listening. As in paying attention to your customers — because customers are sure telling you really important stuff all the time.
“Hi Jody,” they say, “Can we re-schedule our meeting, as I can’t make it today. My son is ill and needs to be taken to the doctor.” Or “Hi, Mark,” they say, “It’s my birthday next week, and my wife is taking me out to lunch, so….
... companies don’t listen. People do. Companies send silly greeting cards at Christmas time. People listen and act on specific situations. And when they (as in you and me, act) the customer is startled, bemused, surprised, excited and suddenly there’s a smile on the customer’s face.
Take a moment to read it and then follow his advice.
I might be behind the times but I just found this remote control for speaking engagements - the Logitech Cordless 2.4 GHz Presenter. It has all the bells and whistles that most other remote controls have. However, this one has a countdown timer (silent vibration warnings at 5 minutes and 2 minutes).
I've been on the podium and know the value of a good wireless device. I love the fact that this Logitech model has a countdown timer on the remote. Too many venues have the clock only on the lectern. Good speakers, I believe, don't use a lectern but if the clock is either there or on your wrist, I will use the one on the lectern. Having to circle back over to the lectern to peek at the time to make sure I'm where I need to be in my presentation just gives me something else to worry about. When you are speaking, the only thing you want to worry about is delivering for the audience.
The Logitech is under $70. Read the reviews here.